Barriers to the Superintendency: Exposing Racial and Gender Gaps in K-12 Education Leadership

Though Massachusetts is viewed as a leader in K-12 education, our state grapples with significant racial and gender power gaps in education leadership. The vast majority of school districts have never had a superintendent of color, even though nearly half of Massachusetts public school students are children of color. Meanwhile, most superintendents are men, despite women making up the majority of the teaching force and out-qualifying men in terms of education, credentialing, and experience. 

On November 9 the Rennie Center and Eos Foundation released never-before-seen data on the stark inequities in K-12 leadership through their report, The Power Gap in Massachusetts K-12 Education. Watch the recording to hear our discussion on the gender and racial barriers to the superintendency and what K-12 leaders, school committee members, and policymakers can do about it.


Karla Baehr
Co-facilitator, New Superintendent Induction Program and Former Superintendent, Franklin, Lowell, and Wellesley Public Schools

Elle Jansen
Senior Associate, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Cynthia Paris
Superintendent, Lawrence Public Schools

Marta T. Rosa
Consultant, Eos Foundation (panel moderator)

Andrea Silbert
President, Eos Foundation

Cheryl Watson-Harris
Superintendent, Dekalb County School District (Georgia) and Former Network Superintendent, Boston Public Schools